Mayor Harrell Signs Suite of Legislation to Protect Reproductive Rights in Seattle
Seattle – Today, Mayor Bruce Harrell signed four bills into law to support access to abortion and reproductive healthcare in Seattle following the decision of the Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Mayor Harrell was joined by Councilmember Lisa Herbold and Councilmember Tammy J. Morales, who sponsored two of the measures, and reproductive healthcare advocates and providers.
The following bills were signed into law:
CB 120374 adds people who have received or are seeking abortions as a protected class, ensuring their civil rights’ protections.
CB 120376 creates a misdemeanor charge for people who encroach on individuals seeking abortions or gender affirming care.
CB 120375 establishes Seattle as a sanctuary city for those seeking abortion care and prevents pursuit of out-of-state warrants related to abortions by Seattle Police.
CB 120366 appropriates $250,000 of city funds to fund expanded access to reproductive healthcare by making an investment in Northwest Abortion Access Fund.
“The Supreme Court’s decision is a dangerous and decades-long leap backwards that will lead to significant and harmful consequences for women and all those seeking abortions, with disproportionate impacts falling on women of color. We must use every tool available to safeguard fundamental civil rights of privacy and autonomy,” said Mayor Harrell. “These bills take necessary action to ensure that Seattle is a city where abortion and reproductive healthcare are available to all who seek it and that we are ready and able to safely serve patients from out of state seeking care here. I want to thank the advocates and providers who have stood firm in their commitment to safe, accessible care.”
“The fight to ensure access to safe and unbiased healthcare for pregnant people will continue. The overturn of Roe is the Big One – the earthquake we’ve always known was coming,” said Councilmember Herbold. “There will be more emerging needs as the expected four-fold increase in medical refugees hit our state, and as opponents of reproductive justice attempt to find ways to stop pregnant people from getting the healthcare they deserve. I will work with advocates and public health leaders to ensure pregnant patients are not harmed in religiously-affiliated hospitals where reproductive healthcare is routinely denied – and I will fight to get accurate information into the hands of pregnant patients.”
“For the first time in our country’s history, our courts reversed a fundamental right. This is no longer a theoretical exercise: as we see assaults by our courts on marginalized communities and reduction of rights, every level of government has a vital role to play to ensure bodily autonomy and self-determination,” said Councilmember Morales. “I am proud to see the collaboration between community partners, my fellow Councilmembers Herbold and Strauss, and Mayor Harrell for stepping up and working to ensure every tool is available to protect and ensure access to abortion care in Seattle.”
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING
"Thank you to city leadership for showing up and investing in Seattle’s local abortion fund, especially at such a critical moment,” said Amanda Saxton, Board Member at the Northwest Abortion Access Fund. “Providing direct investment in the Northwest Abortion Access Fund will allow us to ease the financial burden of people forced to travel for care. We look forward to building a partnership that will help us fulfill our mission of funding abortion and breaking down barriers to abortion access in the Northwest."
“These bills will help strengthen access to safe reproductive care for patients in Washington and across the country by removing barriers and by standing firm in the truth that abortion is a fundamental right,” said Kia Guarino, Executive Director of Pro-Choice Washington. “It is essential that we continue to build up the protections for patients and providers, and to demonstrate the importance of safe and accessible abortion and gender affirming care for our whole community’s wellbeing.”
"When I decided to get an abortion, I was terrified that my information would be given to Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) and my decision would one day be used against me,” said Brenda Rodriguez Lopez, Executive Director at Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network. “All immigrants deserve to have autonomy over their bodily choices without fear of persecution. We know what is right for us, and I'm overwhelmed with joy to see our laws in Seattle reflect that."
“Anti-abortion extremists have declared their intent to intensify their activism in safe states like Washington. Unable to advance their mission through the legislature or the courts, they seek to stop pregnant people from accessing care directly – through misinformation, intimidation, and harassment,” said Kim Clark, Legal Director at Legal Voice. “That is why measures like those adopted by the City Council are so important. We are so grateful to Councilmembers Herbold and Morales, the Seattle City Council, and the Mayor for anticipating this escalating threat and standing up for the health and well-being of people who become pregnant.”
“The passage of these bills is a step in the right direction for the people of Seattle, people of Washington state, and people who come to our state for critical reproductive care, including abortion,” said Courtney Normand, Washington State Director for Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates. “No one should have to worry about prosecution or harassment for doing what’s best for their personal health care. We’re grateful for the local leadership of Mayor Harrell and Councilmembers Herbold and Morales and look forward to working at all levels of government to protect and expand access to abortion in Washington.”
“Members of the Seattle Women’s Commission are supportive of the swift and powerful legislation presented by Mayor Harrell, City Council members Herbold, and Morales,” said the Seattle Women’s Commission. “We are a Sanctuary City who stands by our pillars of respect, safety, and inclusion.”